State of the Site
Annual Report for
the complete review - 2013
i. The site
The complete review went online, at www.complete-review.com, on 31 March 1999.
Growth of the site continues to increase by roughly the same amount, year in and year out:
a. General review data
Books under Review Month Total
December, 2000 529 December, 2001 750 December, 2002 934 December, 2003 1128 December, 2004 1331 December, 2005 1548 December, 2006 1774 December, 2007 1986 December, 2008 2205 December, 2009 2377 December, 2010 2598 December, 2011 2810 December, 2012 3046 January, 2013 3068 February 3086 March 3106 April 3121 May 3138 June 3158 July 3174 August 3189 September 3205 October 3219 November 3238 December 3251
Totals: 205 books were reviewed in 2013 (down from 236 in 2012), just above the soft target of 200.
Length: The 205 reviews totaled 182,009 words, an average of 888 words per review (up 5.84% from an average of 839 in 2012).
Languages: Books originally written in 35 different languages were reviewed (2012: 33). Stunningly -- and quite handily -- the most represented language was not English, the first year this has even come close to happening (and was mainly due to a steep decline in the number of books-written-in-English under review, from 67 to a mere 35). The most represented languages were:
Country of origin: Books were written by authors from 51 different nations (2012: 64), the most represented being:
- French 43 books
- English: 35
- Japanese 19
- Spanish 16
- German 13
- Italian 10
- Russian 8
- Arabic 7
Gender: Embarrassingly the trend of male-dominance continues:
- France: 39 books
- Japan 20
- US 17
- Italy 10
- Spain 8
Year of writing/publication: The overwhelming majority of books under review were written/first published in the past five years. (Year of writing/first publication is not of the first English-language publication, which would make the list even more current-heavy.):
- 175 of the titles had male authors (85.37%; 2012: 81.57%)
- 30 had female authors
Year by year, for the seven most recent years:
- 61 books were written/first published 2010-2014
- 4 in the 19th century
- 0 prior to the 19th century
Genre: Fiction dominated coverage even more than usual, with novels alone accounting for more than three-quarters of all titles reviewed.
- 21 books were written/first published in 2013
- 2012 11
- 2011 17
- 2010 11
- 2009 14
- 2008 12
- 2007 6
Reviews were of books in the following genres:
In no other category were more than four titles read.
- Novels 161 (78.54 %; 2012: 76.27 %)
- Non-fiction 16 (7.8%; 2012: 12.29 %)
- Stories 10 (4.88 %; 2012: 4.24 %)
Grades: No book was graded 'A+' in 2013, but one -- Rimbaud the Son, by Pierre Michon -- finally did receive an 'F' (a first for the site !) and overall grades skewed about the same as in 2012. The number of reviews with the following grades were (2012 totals in parentheses):
b. Most popular reviews
- A+ 0 (1)
- A 2 (0)
- A- 20 (22)
- B+ 54 (79)
- B 110 (104)
- B- 11 (19)
- C+ 1 (2)
- C 3 (1)
- F 1 (0)
- no grade 3 (7)
The full list of the most popular reviews, for the year and month for month, can be found here.
The 25 reviews receiving the most page-views in 2013 were:
- The Three Mistakes of my Life, Chetan Bhagat
- Five Point Someone, Chetan Bhagat
- The Dilemma of a Ghost, Ama Ata Aidoo
- Decolonising the Mind, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
- Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell
- The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga
- Sakuntala and the Ring of Recollection, Kalidasa
- The History Boys, Alan Bennett
- The Gift of a Cow, Premchand
- Q & A, Vikas Swarup
- One night @ the call center, Chetan Bhagat
- El Filibusterismo, José Rizal
- Atonement, Ian McEwan
- Ways of Dying, Zakes Mda
- Mister Pip, Lloyd Jones
- Monsieur Ibrahim and the Flowers of the Koran, Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt
- The Assault, Harry Mulisch
- Ambiguous Adventure, Cheikh Hamidou Kane
- The Story of the Stone, Cao Xueqin
- Disgrace, J.M.Coetzee
- Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
- Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser
- The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, Jonas Jonasson
- Spies, Michael Frayn
- Anowa, Ama Ata Aidoo
c. Other pages - most popular
The 10 most popular author pages in 2013 were:
The index pages receiving the most page-views in 2013 were:
- Murakami Haruki
- Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
- Patrick White
- Amélie Nothomb
- Juan Goytisolo
- Naguib Mahfouz
- Miroslav Holub
- Herta Müller
- Antonio Tabucchi
- Zbigniew Herbert
The top four remained unchanged from last year, and nine of the top ten all made the list again.
- Books Written Before 1900
- French literature
- Books Written Between 1900 and 1945
- Eastern European literature
- Far East Asian (Chinese, Japanese, Korean) literature
- Mysteries and Thrillers
- Latin and South American literature
- Erotic, Pornographic, and Sex-related books
- Scandinavian literature
- Selected Imprints and Publishers
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Traffic to the complete review was again down sharply from the previous year: the number of unique visitors was lower by -26.22% than in 2012 (previous year change: -23.96%), while page-views were down -21.48% from 2012 (previous year change: -23.5%).
According to Google Analytics, visitors from 219 countries and territories visited the site in 2013 (2012: 215). The countries that had not sent visitors in 2012 but did in 2013 were: Kosovo, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, Chad, San Marino, Palau, South Sudan, Saint Helena, and Norfolk Island. (The countries that did send visitors in 2012, but not 2013 were: Cook Islands, Guinea-Bissau, Kiribati, Montserrat, Saint Pierre and Miquelon.)
Among the perennial no-shows, North Korea remains the most eagerly anticipated.
The twenty nations sending the most traffic to the complete review were:
India's audience-share continues to increase, while the Dutch slid several spots this year. Only one new nation appeared in the top-20 -- China, displacing Norway (down to 22nd, behind Brazil).
- United States - 40.45% of all visits (up from 38.91% in 2012)
- United Kingdom - 10.28%
- India - 6.68%
- Canada - 4.70%
- Australia - 2.98%
- Germany - 2.60%
- France - 1.73%
- the Philippines - 1.69%
- the Netherlands - 1.69%
- Italy - 1.30%
- Spain - 1.08%
- Belgium - 1.00%
- South Africa
The ten cities sending the most traffic to the complete review were:
New York returned to the top of the city-table, while Los Angeles jumped several places, moving ahead of New Delhi despite a slight increase in audience-share there as well.
- New York - 3.84% of all visits
- London - 3.19%
- Los Angeles - 1.38%
- New Delhi - 1.31%
- Melbourne - 1.10%
- Toronto - 1.01%
The vast majority of users still visit the site via desk/laptop computers (82.72%), but in 2013 10.77% visited the site on mobile devices, and 6.51% on tablets.
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iii. How users find our material
The majority of visitors to the complete review reached it via search engines (i.e. specific queries), and Google still completely leads the way.
The sites referring the most traffic to the complete review via static links to the site (or the Literary Saloon) in general (of the blogroll sort, for example) or linking to specific reviews or blog-posts were:
Since 15 May 2009 it has been possible to get the Literary Saloon on Kindle. A (small) number of readers do subscribe to it.
- rochester.edu (Three Percent weblog)
M.A.Orthofer -- the complete review himself -- began posting on Twitter, too, and at the end of the year had about 3400 followers (2012: 2,915).
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iv. Review Copies
In 2013 there was a significant decline in the number of review copies received at complete review.
Submissions to the complete review in recent years break down as follows:
(The actual 'List value' is probably considerably higher than recorded because titles are only counted once and a significant number now arrive first in proof form (entered at a zero value list price) and then in final print form (at which point we do not record them again).)
Review Copies Year Total List value # under review
2013 490 $ 7689.85 119 2012 579 $ 9136.21 176 2011 484 $ 7653.52 140 2010 413 $ 6664.87 124 2009 483 $ 7092.94 109 2008 476 $ 7699.84 121 2007 387 $ 6133.38 110 2006 348 $ 5775.44 124 2005 299 $ 5321.78 106 2004 179 $ 3378.83 99 2003 131 $ 2673.16 74 2002 127 $ 2710.27 80 2001 134 $ 2559.14 78 2000 136 $ 3257.72 78 1999 53 $ 1131.68 49
Between 1/2013 and 1/2014 an additional 19 books received in 2012 were reviewed -- significantly increasing the eprcentage of 2012 arrivals under review. At just under 25% (119/490) 2013 arrivals were reviewed at the lowest rate since 2009 -- but 2013 titles continue to be reviewd in 2014 and should come closer to historic averages.
While not a record, a book reviewed 25 October 2013 was reviewed 3300 days after it was received (12 October 2004). Sometimes it does take us a while to get to them .....
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While domestic internet disruptions led to some delays in posting, the Literary Saloon yet again offered 365 days of posts in 2013.
Pre-Nobel Prize coverage remains a popular draw, leading to a spike in interest in Literary Saloon-discussions from mid-September through the announcement -- though with an unreviewed Anglophone winner in 2013 there was litte carry-over after the announcement.
Yet again -- or even more than ever -- link-maintenance has continued to prove an annoying and time-consuming process, as many sites update their sites (including changing URLs to their pages (The Guardian really had to change its URL from guardian.co.uk to theguardian.com ?)), but fail to provide redirects for the 'old' links. The sheer size of the site now, with well over three thousand reviews, makes it very difficult to keep up with all the rotting links.
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© 2014 the complete review Quarterly
© 2014 the complete review